Stories Of PH: Family and Friends Remember Brooklyn’s Beloved Emcee

RIP PH! We interviewed some of Pumpkinhead’s closest friends and fam!

This is the one year anniversary of the sudden passing of “Robert “PH” Diaz – also known as Pumpkinhead. The Underground of New York was hit with a metaphorical ton of bricks when PH died suddenly. Simultaneously, the rest of the world was educated on exactly who he was. It was soon realized that he was more than an emcee. He was a father. A husband. One of Brooklyn’s beloved emcees. A street in Park Slope, Brooklyn was named after PH, an indelible representation of his impact on the community. AllHipHop celebrates his life with those that loved him most – his closest family – who share intimate, unseen images of the man, the legend. PH, rest in power.

Shawntay Ocasio, wife and mother of PH’s children

Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission

PH was a really hands-on dad. He was very involved with his boys, they were everything to him. I used to work early mornings so he used to have to get the boys up and ready for school. He’d to drive them to school every day and pick them up from school every day. Whenever one of the kids had any problems at school, PH would go up to the school and deal with the principals or teachers he was super involved when it came to his boys

PH used to sing to them make up funny little songs all the time anything to make them laugh. When the boys were a lot younger PH used to tell them bedtime stories, but he never read books. He always made them up the adventures of Prince Raiden and Prince Royce. He would make up these elaborate adventure stories for the boys. They would stay up way past their bedtime, because they would just get so into them. They would throw out ideas and he would incorporate them, you would hear them laughing from the next room. You would hear all the strange voices coming from the room and they were all coming from PH. And the kids would be just cracking up and I would have to go in there kind to settle them all down. They were – all three of them –  would be so excited but there was no way the kids were going to go to bed. PH was an amazing dad. Everything he did was for the kids. – Shawntay Ocasio

Sara Kana, friend, emcee and Owner Of Prism Battle League 

PH Pumpkinhead sara kana used by permission

PH and me spoke about everything. (Laughs) He knew all my girlfriend issues – everything. We fought a lot, because he was so overprotective and we were both hot heads but he always had my back no matter what or who.

I remember when he was about to take over the GrindTime east coast division, he called me and asked me my opinion I said, “We are The NY Scene! We should!” And I had just spoke to Drect about joining GrindTime as a battler.  As time passed, he took over NY and the East Coast “GTEC.” He helped me re-open the doors for female battle rap by booking me versus Young Gattas and trusting me with rebuilding the female battle rap presence in the scene.

I love and miss my bro more then anything. But I know he is proud I am doing all the things we ever spoke about. My brother still has my back, because I feel him everyday letting me know my decisions are guiding me to the right path. Humans are made up of energy and I strongly believe that energy stays with us. Its been one year and like my bro PH SPIT…I’M STILL HERE! And for us he always will be. –Sara Kana

L.R Blitzkrieg, friend and business partner

Pumpkinhead - used by permission of L.R Blitzkrieg
I’ve been one of PH’s best friends for over 26 years, needless to say I’ve got quite a few stories of our adventures (most not fit for print!) but off top I can think of one great moment in time while we were finally finishing his last album “Know the Ledge”. PH, GMS and Myself had put in allot of work as a newly formed indeed label (MCMI records) to put out what would be our first full length album release and all the time and energy was finally about to pay off. We filmed a great video running around Brooklyn for 3 days for the albums first single “County of Kings”and the only thing left was one of our favorite part, The album release show! We could have had it anywhere but PH wanted to do it at one of our favorite spots Southpaw. Not just because it was a great hip hop venue but because it was two blocks from his childhood street (now and forever more known as Robert”PH”Diaz way!) in park slope Brooklyn.

Fast forward to the night of the event. Every detail was covered except for one. The drink plan! Me being PH’s “hype man” for the night we came up with what most would consider the dumbest idea ever. In a 13 song set after every song we would do a double shot of our favorite beverage. Jameson whiskey. I went to the liquor store and bought the biggest bottle I could along with two magnums of champagne to share with the crowd during the song “champagne and Kush” and covered the labels with two giant “MCMI” logos

We start the show and everything is going perfect! first song. Drink. Second song. Drink. And so on and so on. By the end of the night we were wasted! But somehow by the grace of God, still put on an amazing set. That night PH the man and his music was celebrated by his friends, family and peers, all on stage or out in the crowd just having a great time together just like he wanted.

I know PH is best known for his incredible album “Orange Moon Over Brooklyn” and for his battles but if you’ve never heard “Know the Ledge” pick it up, it’s a great album and we had allot of fun recording it. All proceeds from that album go to his wife and his three kids, my god children. And don’t worry, there’s allot more music to come from my brother, the underground king PH. –L.R Blitzkrieg

  Swave, friend and fellow battle rapper
pumkinhead suave sevah used by permission If it wasn’t for PH, I would not be where I am as far as battle rap is concerned. He was the one who set up my first battle in the era of battle leagues. I remember the first time he asked me. I said no at first, thinking that my battling days was over. But PH was persistent. He really wanted me to do it and be apart of something that at the time I had no idea it would be this big. But PH would always tell me, “I’m telling u bro, this is gonna be the new wave.” My bro knew what he was talking about because it sure became the new wave. After PH hounding me about doing a battle on Grindtime, I finally decided to give it a shot. I went into it not really taking it serious but I still won and agreed to do more battles. It wasn’t long before I was looked at as one of the best in the Grindtime New York division. PH also became a force in the same division. We was already family but the bond became even stronger wit the more victories we racked up. My brother Ike P and I started a power crew. We called it Team Homi. Short for Team Homicide, to represent all the bodies we was dropping in this new era of battle rap. It didn’t take long at all before PH was a active and important member of Team Homi. And we only grew stronger. I owe PH a lot. He even came thru for me when I was looking for a venue to throw my album release party. I almost had to cancel because to first venue I booked back out on me last minute. But PH saved the day. Got me Public Assembly, which was a very well respected venue in Brooklyn for Hip-Hop events. Thank you PH. I love and miss you dearly daily. My bro will always be remembered and his name will always be lifted. From Park Slope, Brooklyn, 5th and Degraw which is now named Robert “PH” Diaz Way. He will forever be apart of Brooklyn history. And forever be a life Team Homi will celebrate. TeamHomi4Life. RIP.  Love you always bro –Swave

Here are more pictures of PH and his family from wife Shawntay Ocasio.

Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission Shawntay Ocasio Pumpkinhead's wife PH Used by Permission